The Word Nerds first met Brad back in 2009 and since then we’ve been walking that fine, fine line between fan girls and professional writing colleagues. He’s no stranger to the blog, first appearing in December 2009 and then again in February 2011.
His fourth novel in the highly entertaining Carter Ross series, “The Good Cop” released yesterday.
Since Brad’s talked all that writing shop in previous guest appearances, we took a page from the “Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me” folks and asked him questions about which he might not have any experience but strong opinions.
Word Nerds: What’s The Good Cop about and where did the idea come from?
Parks: THE GOOD COP came to me, of all places, while standing in an outdoor store in Hampton, Virginia, where I chanced to pass a large glass case filled with handguns. At that point, I was familiar with the gun control laws in New Jersey, which include a 30-day waiting period, a full background check, and an extensive licensure process that allows the local police chief to turn down your application for just about any reason, up to and including that he doesn’t like the cut of your jig. But I didn’t know the laws in Virginia, where I had recently relocated. So I asked the guy behind the case what they were. He basically told me that if I was a state resident and wasn’t a felon, I could walk out of the store with a handgun within twenty minutes; and, furthermore, if I had a concealed carry permit – which are relatively easy to obtain in Virginia – I could purchase as many guns as I wanted, no questions asked, and be on my merry way. Now, I had spent many years covering the impacts of gun violence in Newark. And I knew the most of the guns used to commit those crimes were illegal and had come from somewhere else. But until that moment, I didn’t understand just how easy it was to get guns elsewhere. I was struck with the realization that I could buy a trunk full of guns, file off the serial numbers, and be selling them on the streets of Newark or Camden or Philadelphia within just a few hours. From there, a fictional gun-smuggling operation – which serves as the bad guy in THE GOOD COP – was born.
Word Nerds: What would you do if you inherited a pizzeria from your uncle?
Parks: I actually have a cousin who owns a pizzeria and he doesn’t take very good care of himself. So your question is not as far-fetched as you might think. As such, I can say I’ve given this one considerable thought: I would petition to have it converted into a mob front. I’m not exactly sure where I’d need to file that paperwork, or with whom (I hear the approval process can be somewhat arduous). But I’ve always wanted my very own mob front – just a nice, friendly place where I can hang out with my gangsta buddies, launder money, and hack up bodies in the back. It seems like something any real crime fiction writer should aspire to have.